What is Internet Defamation?
An internet defamation case is our firm’s name for cases that involve defamatory statements published by bloggers, reviewers and commentators on the internet. New York defines a statement as defamatory if it “tends to expose the plaintiff to public contempt, ridicule, aversion or disgrace, or induce an evil opinion of him in the minds of right-thinking persons, and to deprive him of their friendly intercourse in society.”
What does this mean? Essentially, a defamatory comment is a comment that is a lie and makes people think bad things about you. Sounds like every bad statement can be defamatory, right?
In internet defamation, a defamatory statement must be presented as a fact, and when reading the entire blog post or comment as a whole, the context must also be presented as facts. An opinion is considered to be protected speech. For example, a statement is an opinion if I eat at a restaurant, return home and write a blog commenting that “the food was the worst food I ever tasted.” However, if I go home and write a blog stating “I received rat meat instead of chicken in my General Tso order,” and this is a lie, the restaurant will have an internet defamation case.
Elements of an Internet Defamation Case
Internet defamation cases are very similar to normal defamation cases. A person still must prove the following:
- A false and defamatory statement of fact;
- Regarding the plaintiff
- Which is published to a third party; and which
- Results in injury to plaintiff.”
What Does This Mean For an Internet Defamation Case?
Once you understand what is a defamatory statement, the rest of your New York internet defamation case becomes much simpler. Clearly, the statement has to be about you. A statement published on a blog or review site is published for the world to see. A statement written in an email to you directly would not be considered a published defamatory statement (however, if your boss is cc’d, then it is “published.”) Finally, you must show damages.
Internet Defamation Damages
Certain statements are considered so egregious by the Courts that damages are presumed. These are called “per se” damages
These statements fall into four categories:
- Accusing someone of a serious crime;
- A false statement that “tends to injure another in his or her trade, business or profession,
- Lying about someone having some “loathsome disease,” or
- False statements about a woman’s “unchastity.”
There are nuances to these categories, and we suggest you contact us with additional questions.
DS&A's Three Step Process
Because our lawyers file more internet defamation lawsuits than almost any other firm, we know how to obtain the quickest and best results. We have created a process that can be summed up in three steps.
Identify the Author
In any internet defamation case, we make sure we find the right person to sue. If the author is anonymous, don’t worry, we will find them through subpoenas, court orders, and lawsuits.
Contact the Offender
We believe the most cost-effective process is to contact the websites and posters immediately. We will send cease and desist letter demanding the webpages comes down. We also contact the websites to stop the damage.
File a lawsuit
We want to ensure that this never happens again. Part of internet defamation cases is filing a lawsuit for both money and to stop the posts from reoccurring. We will file a lawsuit for damages and fight vigorously for your rights.